10 Things Most Commonly Flagged in a Home Inspection

Mortgage and Lending with Olympus Labs

When you’re selling a house, a lot rides on the home inspection. A pass means you can move onto closing while a fail means more expenses for repairs. Many banks won’t approve a loan for a failed home inspection unless certain updates are made. If you know what they’re looking for, you can make repairs before the inspection occurs.

Here are some of the most common reasons an inspection fails.

1. Roof Problems

Homebuyers know that repairing a roof is expensive and time consuming. It’s an essential component of a home inspection, and damage or obvious age will shut down the sale. If your roof is old, it’s best to repair it before selling. Consider a high-quality metal roof that will add to your property values as well as appease an inspector.

2. Foundation Damage

One of the first things that savvy homebuyers look for during a walk through is any sign of foundation damage. Cracks, bowing, slanted floors, and other obvious damage will send them running. If there’s a major problem, it will lead to a flagged home inspection.

3. Windows

An inspector will note if a window is old, but they’ll only flag it if windows are broken, cracked, or so badly sealed that it allows water or air to flow into the home. Improperly installed or maintained windows can also lead to mold growth, a big no-no on the inspection.

4. Outdated Electrical Wiring

Old homes with old wiring are more likely to cause a fire because the older wiring is not equipped to handle modern technology. They often don’t have the safety switches that today’s up-to-code wiring has as well. No one wants to buy a home that’s practically ready to burst into flames, so make sure your wiring is modernized.

5. Insects and Pests

Insects and pests can infiltrate your home no matter where you live but are more common in the South and Midwest where the air is humid and insect populations are rampant. Pests, such as mice, are also common in these areas as well as in regions near fields or grasslands.

If the homebuyer requests a pest inspection, an infestation will fail your home. In many cases, exterminating these pests can be simple, but you must take action first.

6. Drainage Issues

Around the home, the landscaping should be slanted away from the foundation so that when rain falls from your roof, it doesn’t pool around the foundation. Improper drainage can lead to the foundation cracking or bowing, weakening the structure of your home. These drainage problems are major red flags for potential homebuyers and will likely lead to a failed inspection.

7. Water Damage

Evidence of water damage, such as from drainage problems, is a huge red flag to most homebuyers, and they’ll likely ask for a thorough inspection of the issue. Water damage can cause severe structural issues that are expensive to fix and maintain.

Before selling a home, it’s best to correct any leaks in the house and repair the resulting damage. Correcting a past water leak and eliminating evidence of it will generally make your home sell faster and for more money.

8. Black Mold

Water drainage issues can lead to many structural complications, but it can also lead to health problems. If black mold emerges as the result of your water issues, it can release spores that attach to your lungs and make you sick.

Surface mold is easy to eliminate with bleach, but if it gets into your walls and insulation, you’ll have an expensive repair on your hands.

9. Septic Trouble

Homes outside of a city grid typically require a septic tank for their sewage and water drainage. Septic systems are not maintained by the city, so if there’s an issue, such as a burst pipe, drainage problem, or filter issue, you must repair it before the home can be sold.

10. Dangerous Materials

Many homes were built with materials that were affordable at the time but have now been proven hazardous to the occupants of the home. Some of these dangerous materials include:

  • Lead paint: Common in homes built before 1978, lead paint can cause serious health problems if ingested.
  • Asbestos: One of the most common insulations before the 1970s, asbestos has been linked to issues with the lungs and forms cancer.
  • Radon: Although not a building material, radon is a gas that can result from decaying uranium in the soil around your home, leading to lung cancer.

If any of these materials are discovered in your home, it can lead to a failed inspection. There are many different ways to resolve these issues, and getting a jump on it will help your home pass the inspection with flying colors.


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David Jackson, MBA

Financial lending analyst
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